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Best of TV Costuming 2014: The Good Wife and Grieving

9 Dec

Welcome to TV Ate My Wardrobe’s “Best of 2014″ costuming series and rather than doing a straightforward countdown we’re going to do a variety of posts that look at which costumes and shows have made a huge impact this year. From items that we want in our own wardrobe to pieces that got everyone talking, we want to look at this year’s TV through the prism of costume.

One of the biggest TV moments for me this year was the death of Will Gardner on The Good Wife and how this took what was already a thrilling season and upped the ante to new levels as everyone dealt with the aftermath of this tragedy. This story resonated for a number of reasons and the unexpected and sudden nature put us in the same position as Alicia as they somehow managed to keep this story under wraps; this was not an expected departure – even if it was common knowledge that Josh Charles’ contract was up at the end of the season – and because Will and Alicia’s relationship was unresolved this death hit hard. It is definitely the first time I have ever cried while writing a review.

The Good Wife 5.17 AliciaThe education of Alicia Florrick is at the center of The Good Wife and Will’s death is a stab to that heart. Even when they were fighting for the majority of the fifth season there was still a spark and the reconciliation of sorts in a New York City diner hinted at the next phase of their relationship. This was not to be the case as Will was gunned down by his own client at the end of the next episode. The wardrobe of grieving can be many things but when Alicia finds out that Will has been killed she is in appropriately somber clothing and she spends the episode with her zip done all the way up and shrouded in her black coat. As I said it is appropriately somber. This is followed by more black clothing for the funeral (and post funeral drinks with Diane) but color isn’t completely lacking in these episodes as you can see in this shot of Alicia with Grace’s old tutor Jennifer.

It’s after the funeral in “A Material World” where there is a shift in Alicia’s attire as she goes from her usual well put together fancy suits and reverts to sweats. Climbing beneath the sheets – initially while still wearing her court clothes – and contemplating only the heavy handed drama on Darkness at Noon is pretty much where Alicia is at. This move is not surprising as she needs to escape the pain of her own world by watching manpain on her favorite show. Alicia is all about control (it is why she likes the law so much) and this experience allows her to let go of everything she has known to be true for as long as we have known her. On one hand there was Will – the real love of her life where bad timing played its part in keeping them apart – and then there is Peter. Peter is the disappointment, the facade of a marriage that has always been broken since we entered Alicia’s life.

Alicia ending things with Peter when she looks at her least put together is entirely appropriate and this is a conversation that has been a long time coming. It is a rehash of the same argument we have heard countless times as both Alicia and Peter use their past indiscretions to hurt the other. The main difference now is that Alicia doesn’t hold back screaming that her affair meant something and we’ve reached the point of no return for the broken Florrick union. Now she is acknowledging how their coupling is a benefit professionally to both of them, but anything else is completely off the cards. They are done. No going back this time and Peter doesn’t get a say.

The Good Wife 5.17Seeing Alicia take control in this manner all while wearing her sweats is a fist pump eliciting moment and something I have been longing to see. Okay maybe transfer super swanky red gown for the sweats in how I envisioned it, but the lounge wear is actually far better because this look is so unexpected. Peter has no patience or empathy for Alicia’s pain, he thinks his wife is being dramatic and maybe she is, however this is what happens when your heart gets ripped from your chest. Peter belittles her loss by inferring that Will’s death isn’t like losing a child or a husband; this is the point where she realizes she is done with his BS and passive aggressive comments about the political function she has missed. He is now free to screw around with whomever he wants to, as long as it doesn’t hurt either of them professionally.

While Peter has indeed invoked the ‘sleep with whoever you want’ clause (and by the sounds of it with someone who he has previously cheated on Alicia with), Alicia is yet to do anything beyond flirtation (with Lost’s Nestor Carbonell and Finn). One thing that is worth noting about Finn is that he saw her in her most vulnerable state and it is not just because he saw her in sweats over her well put together wardrobe. Rather than avoiding Finn, which would have been easy to do as Grace was about to turn him away, Alicia says it is okay for him to come into her bedroom. Her inner sanctum of hiding away from the world. This conversation reinforces not only how much Will meant to Alicia, but also creates this connection between Finn and Alicia that goes way beyond the insane chemistry they share.

Will’s death is a shocking moment and what could have been a cheap twist has been used to propel the characters forward in unexpected ways as well as exposing Alicia’s vulnerability and strength in equal measure. These days away from work allow Alicia to respond to this event in the privacy of her own home, but when she becomes aware of how little privacy there is thanks to the NSA surveillance it gives her a reason to get back out there and kick some ass. The comfy home clothes are discarded for now and the sharp suits are back; the wine cardigan will return but this renewed focus and sense of determination means the sweats have been banished for now.

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6 Responses to “Best of TV Costuming 2014: The Good Wife and Grieving”

  1. Anya Rush December 9, 2014 at 2:13 pm #

    Reblogged this on Resplendent Miasma.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Best of TV Costuming 2014: Best of the Rest – From Statement Necklaces to Wedding Gowns | TV Ate My Wardrobe - December 30, 2014

    […] discussions have covered a lot of individual shows such as The Americans, Hannibal and The Good Wife, along with certain trends such as leather jackets and now comes the quick-fire roundup of TV Ate […]

  2. Best of TV Costuming 2014: The Collection | TV Ate My Wardrobe - December 31, 2014

    […] The Good Wife and Grieving […]

  3. Repeating the Cycle on The Good Wife | TV Ate My Wardrobe - April 13, 2015

    […] favor. What is important here is Alicia is wearing her sadness sweats and the last time we saw her in this attire was just after Will died and she told Peter their marriage was over except for in name. This is how […]

  4. Alicia Florrick’s Funk and Friendships on The Good Wife: How One Can Stop the Other and Save the Season | TV Ate My Wardrobe - February 1, 2016

    […] same questions plague her once again and this time she has someone to tell her that she is needed. Not Peter wanting her to snap out of it so she can attend a function, but a true partner and friend. This is the relationship I have been […]

  5. The Good Wife’s Big Super Bowl Announcement: Only 9 Episodes Left | TV Ate My Wardrobe - February 8, 2016

    […] the writers have been very successful in dealing with is the fallout of Will’s death from the immediate period which contributed to the best season of The Good Wife (the aforementioned desk clearance and […]

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